DOT Designates Mcguinness Blvd As Arterial Slow Zone

AM Lentol Announces McGuinness Slow ZoneAssemblyman Joseph R. Lentol today announced today that the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has designated McGuinness Boulevard as part of their Arterial Slow-Zone Program. He was joined today by NYCDOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and other elected officials to announce the designation.

McGuinness Boulevard is a two-lane thoroughfare and truck route that allows motorists access to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway from Greenpoint and Queens. The road is notorious for speeding and has been the site of several traffic deaths over the past few years. According to a study by Transportation Alternatives, 66 percent of motorists on McGuinness Boulevard travel over the 30 MPH speed limit.

“I have been advocating for traffic calming measures along McGuinness Boulevard for quite some time now, with little success. This is the first indication that Vision Zero is making its way into Greenpoint. I applaud DOT Commissioner Trottenberg and Mayor de Blasio’s approach to improving the safety of motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists through Vision Zero and I hope that this is only the beginning,” Lentol said.

The installation of the new slow zone signs will commence on May 12th and should be completed by the end of May.

The Arterial Slow Zone program will lower posted speed limits from 30 to 25 MPH. In addition to lowering the speed limit, NYCDOT will make comprehensive improvements to signal timing along the corridor, maintaining crucial vehicular capacity and providing more efficient, predictable traffic flows. The locations will also benefit from increased enforcement by the NYPD, as well as temporary speed boards the NYCDOT will place in key locations. The program will feature comprehensive signal timing enhancements paired with distinctive blue-and-white speed limit signage with the name of the corridor, complementing the existing Neighborhood Slow Zone.

Borough President Adams Announces Free Stop ‘n’ Swap Community Reuse Event At Borough Hall

Today, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced that he will host a free Stop ‘N’ Swap community reuse event, in partnership with GrowNYC, at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Thursday, April 24th from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM. As part of the celebration of Earth Month this April, they are inviting the public to bring portable, reusable items to share or simply come see what is free to a new home. Borough President Adams will himself be donating several articles of clothing from his closet for his fellow Brooklynites’ good use
“I am so pleased to partner with GrowNYC in encouraging my fellow Brooklynites to Stop ‘N’ Swap at Borough Hall, the epicenter of life in our borough. “ said Borough President Adams, “This event encourages Brooklynites to truly think global and act local. We can shrink our ecological footprint, strengthen bonds with our community and save a few dollars in the process!”

Since 2007, GrowNYC has held 65 swaps throughout the five boroughs, providing a fun and easy way to reduce waste by connecting people with things they no longer need with those who can put them to good use.  Items donated typically include books, toys, fashionable clothing, house wares and electronics.  No one is required to bring something to take something; anyone can simply show up with a bag to fill with items.  Anything leftover at the end of the day is donated or recycled.  Furniture and other large items are not accepted.

“Stop ‘N’ Swaps have hit at the right time,” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen.” In this economy, they’re a great way for New Yorkers to find things they need without having to pay and they are reducing the amount of garbage that NYC generates. In fact, it’s a triple-win; in addition to economic and environmental benefits, they also build community as people come out and meet their neighbors. Stop ‘N’ Swap helps prevent waste and pollution from manufacturing, packaging and transporting new things that we use only for a short time. Recycling every day is a must, but reducing waste and reusing items is even better, as waste is prevented at no cost.”

For those looking to clear out closets and drawers, but unable to make the swap, GrowNYC will offer a drop-off for commuters on Thursday from 8:00 AM until 10:00 AM at the Greenmarket outside of Borough Hall. Items left at the market will be displayed for the taking at the event.

Brooklyn Man Arrested After Threatening to Blow Up The United Nations

A Brooklyn man threatened to blow up the United Nations and two banks, sources said.

Aleksandr Baytshok, 36, posted on Twitter, “I will blow up the United Nations, I will blow up Ally bank, I will blow up Chase Bank,” a Criminal Court complaint charges.

Baytshok was arrested last Thursday and charged with making a terroristic threat and aggravated harassment for the April 15 threats, sources said.

An NYPD Intelligence Division investigator spotted the rant on Baytshok’s Twitter account and detectives arrested him, sources added.

While being cuffed, the Coney Island resident allegedly whined, “I didn’t plan to blow up the places. Something told me to say it so I said it. I’m sorry.” (more…)

One Killed, One Seriously Injured Outside Coney Island Mcdonalds

b15busOne man was killed and another seriously wounded in a stabbing outside a McDonald’s in Coney Island, police said.

The two victims got into a dispute with a group inside the fast-food joint on Mermaid Avenue near Stillwell Avenue just before midnight Sunday. The fight spilled onto the street, where an attacker stabbed the two men, cops said.

The first victim, a 20-year-old, was rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, according to police.

The second victim was taken to Lutheran Medical Center, where he was in stable condition.

No arrests have been made. (more…)

Woman Accused of Fatally Stabbing Elderly Man & Stealing Mercedes

NYPD_Crime_Scene_Unit_Freightliner_01Prosecutors today announced the indictment of Judith Johnson, 22, for Murder in the Second Degree for the homicide of Serge Bosse, 73, who was found dead in his apartment in February 2014. George Chambers, 21, was also indicted in connection with the case for Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Hindering Prosecution.  If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum of 25 years-to-life; and Chambers faces a maximum of seven years.

“This victim was robbed, tied-up, brutally stabbed, and left to die. We will hold the Defendants responsible for committing these crimes,” said District Attorney Ken Thompson.

According to court documents, Bosse was discovered stabbed to death in his Albany Avenue apartment on February 28, 2014; his wrists and ankles were bound by duct tape. Friends and family members had not seen or heard from Bosse for two days. Some of his personal property, including electronics and jewelry, were stolen from his apartment. Also missing was his Mercedes Benz.

On March 2, 2014, Bosse’s car was located after an individual unrelated to the homicide was arrested for DWI while driving the car. A subsequent investigation into the stolen vehicle led the NYPD to Defendant George Chambers, who allegedly made arrangements to sell the car shortly after the homicide. The police investigation also led them to Chambers’ girlfriend, Judith Johnson.

As indicated in court documents, Johnson made statements to police implicating herself in the robbery of Bosse and in the victim’s death that occurred during the commission of the robbery.  Chambers also made statements to police admitting to his role in assisting Johnson in pawning the victim’s electronics and arranging to sell his car after learning of the homicide from Johnson. The investigation on this case is continuing.

Splashy Plan for Pool in NYC’s East River Unveiled

eastriverpoolForget schlepping to Jones Beach or down the Jersey Shore. A Brooklyn design team said Tuesday that New York’s East River could be the next great place for a summer swim.

The backers of the floating Plus Pool – an Olympic-sized structure with cruise-like decking – said they’re on course to drop anchor in mid-2016 if they win approval from the city, the U.S. Coast Guard and other government entities.

Project co-founder Archie Coates pitched the pool as be clean, safe and good for the environment and public perception. The goal, he said, is to “change the way New Yorkers see the river by giving them a chance to swim in it.”

A city spokesman did not respond to questions Tuesday about the permitting process and the city’s approach to privately built works intended for public use.

The pool’s backers said it would be different from all other floating pools – the city has had one at Barretto Point Park in the Bronx since 2007 – because it is designed to filter river water into safe, swimmable water.

The Plus Pool would be anchored to the river bed and have a walkway to shore, but a permanent location has not yet been determined, they said.

Project spokeswoman Kanessa Tixe said pool proponents have been in talks with several locations, including Brooklyn Bridge Park. Ideally, she said, the pool would find a home in the East River, but the Hudson River and Governor’s Island are other options.

Co-founder Dong-Ping Wong said the Plus Pool would be like a “giant strainer,” built from filtration material that can remove bacteria and contaminants from a half-million gallons of polluted river water each day. That clean water would be cycled back into the river, he said.

More than 3,000 people have contributed nearly $275,000 to a Kickstarter campaign to keep the pool project afloat. Supporters can also sponsor one of the pool’s 70,000 tiles for $25, $199 or $249. If each is sponsored, Coates said, it would cover the $15 million cost to build the pool.

The pool team said it is testing and improving the filtration system using a floating laboratory at Pier 40 in the Hudson River. They said they are also monitoring the river and are partnering with Google to launch an online app broadcasting water quality data in real time.

It’s an East River in need of a public relations and environmental makeover.

It’s smelly, dirty and, whenever sewage and storm water back up, dangerous. And, it has a place in city lore as a supposed dumping ground for the cement-shoed victims of mob hits.

The television series “Seinfeld” took a good-natured swipe at the river in a 1997 episode when wacky neighbor character Kramer tried swimming in the East River’s rapid currents and was confused for a dead body.

Wong said the Plus Pool, if realized, would be open to all, with sections for children, loungers and avid lap swimmers. It may carry a small admission fee or sponsorships to cover the cost of maintenance and compensation for lifeguards, he said.


NYPD’s Twitter Request for Photos Backfires

A request by the New York City Police Department has backfired – in a very public way.

Its request that Twitter users share pictures of them posing with police officers has caused people to start sending in photos of police brutality.

The NYPD sent a tweet on Tuesday, saying it might feature the photographs on its Facebook page.

The responses soon turned ugly when Occupy Wall Street tweeted a photograph of cops battling protesters with the caption “changing hearts and minds one baton at a time.”

Other photos included an elderly man bloodied after being arrested for jaywalking.

Some respondents did send in the type of police-friendly photographs officials were hoping to get.

NYPD spokeswoman Kim Royster says the uncensored and open dialogue was good for the city.


BREAKING NEWS: Man Found Dead in Plastic Container

Around 12:30 this afternoon, police responded to a report of a deceased person inside of 1561 E. 54 in Flatlands. Upon arrival, responding officers discovered an unidentified male inside of a plastic storage container unconscious and unresponsive. EMS also responded to the location and pronounced the male DOA at the scene. The investigation is ongoing.
UPDATE 04/20
Pursuant to an ongoing investigation with regards to the above incident the following individual has been arrested and charged:

Joshua Simser, a 24 year-old white male
1561 East 54th Street
Brooklyn, NY

Murder 2

The identification and proper family notification of the victim is pending.

Off Duty NYPD Sgt Arrested for DWI

dwiAn off-duty NYPD Sergeant was arrested earlier this morning.

According to police, Donald Stewart, 34, was pulled over in the vicinity of Fulton and Boyland Street in Bed Stuy and charged with DWI.

Celebrate Earth Day by Supporting Fresh Food for NYers in need

image003cambaNew Yorkers can celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by supporting the hydroponic farm at CAMBA’s Beyond Hunger Emergency Food Pantry and ensuring that hungry families get fresh, nutritious food.

Find CAMBA’s Harvest Against Hunger Spring Food Drive at

The food pantry’s in-house hydroponic farm grows vegetables inside the pantry for emergency food clients. And through relationships with NY State farms, the pantry buys and distributes fresh-from-the-farm vegetables and fruits – providing healthy food for the 5,000 people who depend on CAMBA’s pantry each month.

All donations will help CAMBA invest in the hydroponic growing cubes, nutrients and seeds needed to grow lettuce, bok choy, herbs and other fresh foods for hungry Brooklynites.

In addition, donations will enable CAMBA to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers – helping families and farmers thrive. CAMBA also will purchase healthy food packages, with essential vegetables, protein, grain and dairy products for hungry families.

  • $25 Provides a healthy food package for three families for a day
  • $50 Buys 80 servings of farm-fresh vegetables (and helps local farmers!)
  • $75 Covers the cost of 40 pounds of locally harvested fruit
  • $100 Pays for enough growing cubes, nutrients and seeds to grow 80 heads of hydroponic bok choy in a month


NYPD: Officers Should Take The Stairs In Fires

nypd v erticlePolice officials in New York City have changed the way officers respond to fires following the death of an officer.

They’ll now require officers responding to structures on fire to take the stairs.

Deputy Chief Kim Royster said Friday an internal memo detailing the preliminary guidelines has been distributed to precincts.

Royster says the new protocol replaces a memo distributed April 9. It had instructed officers to use the elevator.

She says the change came after consulting with fire officials in the wake of Officer Dennis Guerra’s death.

Guerra was overcome by smoke and carbon dioxide as he got off the elevator on the 13th floor of a Brooklyn building on April 6.

He died three days later. (more…)

NY Toll Violators Could Face Registration Suspensions

ezpass tollMotorists who repeatedly speed through New York state toll booths without paying would see their vehicle registrations suspended under legislation being considered by state lawmakers.

Under current law, toll evaders are contacted by a collection agency and only face registration suspensions if they commit multiple violations within the same locality – and then only after an order from a court or tribunal.

Scofflaws run up more than $30 million in unpaid tolls and fines each year. State Sen. David Carlucci, the proposal’s sponsor, said residents in his commuter-heavy district north of New York City are “extremely sensitive” when it comes to toll evaders.

“Hard-working people are paying more for the people who cheat the system,” said Carlucci, a Democrat. “It’s really something that gets my blood boiling.”

His proposal would allow officials to suspend the registration of anyone who racks up five toll violations within 18 months. The state would also be able to refuse new registrations to chronic evaders.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports the idea and had proposed it in his initial budget recommendation to lawmakers. It was left out of a nearly $140 billion budget deal worked out last month, however.

Lawmakers are set to return to the Statehouse April 28. Carlucci said he retooled his proposal to make it more agreeable and has dropped an earlier call for tougher criminal penalties for toll cheaters.

Toll dodgers have failed to pay $150 million in tolls in the past five years in New York state, according to Deputy Transportation Secretary Karen Rae.

Two recent cases show the lengths that some drivers will go to avoid tolls. Port Authority police said Thursday that a New York truck driver mounted his license plate on a hinge and used a long string to raise it when he passed through a toll plaza.

Also Thursday, prosecutors accused a New York City taxi driver of not paying $28,000 in tolls by routinely tailgating vehicles as they went through E-Z Pass lanes at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.

Happening Now: Free Ice Skating in Coney Island

springbreak ice skating

4 Banks In 1 Day – Police Need Your Help Identifying These Bank Robbers

bkbank4indayPolice are seeking the public’s assistance identifying the following individual wanted for two bank robberies and two attempted bank robberies which took place in Brooklyn. Details are as follows.

1. April 14, 2014 at 12:30 PM inside of 2102 Ralph Avenue(Capital One) the suspects passed a demand note and fled with approximately $1800.

2. April 14, 2014 1:55 PM hours inside of 1987 Flatbush Avenue(Chase) the suspects entered the location passed a demand note and fled without taking any money.

3. April 14, 2014 2:10 PM inside of 1123 Kings Highway(Northfield Bank) the suspects entered the location passed a demand note and fled the location without taking any money.

4. April 14, 2014 2:30 PM inside of 301 Avenue U(Santander Bank) the suspects passed a demand note and fled with approximately  $4,500.



Tenants Claim Discrimination by Brooklyn Landlord

A Brooklyn landlord has engaged in a pattern of ill-treatment to force out minority renters, even failing to cash rent checks in hopes of later evicting them for nonpayment, tenants said Tuesday after filing a federal discrimination lawsuit.

Jean Wilkinson said the landlord has ignored requests to fix her water – the only source of hot water in her apartment for the last five days has been the stove, she said – as part of a “game plan” to get more affluent clientele.

The tenants filed a federal discrimination lawsuit late Monday against Homewood Gardens Estates and its principal owner, Yeshaya Wasserman, alleging a pattern of harassment “almost from the day” he purchased the complex in 2009. They are seeking an order stopping the alleged harassment and monetary damages.

Tenant Marquetta Bell said the plaintiffs – 11 current or former tenants and two community groups – are serving notice: “We will no longer stand for this discrimination.”

Attorneys for the tenants said the complex in the Prospect Lefferts Garden neighborhood failed to complete repairs and changed locks without providing them with keys.

When the complex’s maintenance staff did make repairs, the shoddy work created other problems including mold, leaky windows and floors so worn in some places tenants could see into the basement below, the attorneys said.

A woman who answered the phone at Homewood Gardens said Wasserman would not be back in the office to respond to questions about the lawsuit until Wednesday. No one else was available to answer questions, she said.

City officials reported dozens of complaints about the complex since Wasserman took ownership.

Last October, the state’s Tenant Protection Unit served a subpoena on Wasserman for documents from Homewood Gardens and seven other properties. The unit, according to the governor’s office, was investigating “a pattern of abusive behavior and flagrant violations of rent laws.”

Pavita Krishnaswamy, an attorney for the tenants, said Wasserman is targeting them because they are black. She said 20 of the 52 rent-stabilized apartments in the complex have been vacated since he took ownership and, according to the lawsuit, 14 of the 15 new tenants are white or Asian.

She said the lone black tenant who moved in after Wasserman bought the complex faced a 13.9 percent rent increase while rent for tenants of other races went up less than 3 percent.

Wilkinson, who has lived at the complex for 14 years, said once she figured out the landlord had not cashed her rent checks he offered her $15,000 to leave.

“I told him to take a walk,” Wilkinson said. “If you really want me to leave, take me to court.”